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Reviews of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Diana's review:

ok, i went on friday, 11.20, which it turns out was the third night of previews. i think the show officially opens on 11.23, so there won't be any press reviews for a few days. the show is at the northlight theater in skokie, il, a very random venue, if you ask me, but it's recently renovated, and actually a beautiful little theater. and only 20 minutes from my parents' house (where i was home visiting in lieu of thanksgiving, which i can't go home for, but that's a sob story for another day). anyway. our tickets were for row C, and i figured, third row - cool. but it turned out that for unknown reasons (perhaps the location of the pit), row C was the front row, so we were quite up close and personal, and in the band's lap pretty much, and they rocked but it did get loud.

overall, i loved the show. it's so much fun; i really couldn't believe it would be so enjoyable for grownups (i know, i barely qualify, but i'm a little older than the giggling 7 year olds behind us, who also had an extremely good time). the whole show was very high energy, spot on comic timing, wonderful performers both musically and comedically, amazing musicians, fun, creative sets and adorable costumes. so what's to complain about? not much. the book has been rewritten, although i can't say much about specific changes, since i don't remember much about the original version, which i was in in junior high (as peppermint patty, i was robbed of the lucy part; they cast a blonde). but the music is all the same.

to comment on each cast member briefly: ilana levine (lucy): tres, tres lucy in every way. the bossiest thing, and tortures poor CB to no end. her singing was a bit shrieky, but i guess on purpose.

stanley wayne mathis (schroeder): great. so indignant at every moment, and so into the character, i forgot it wasn't really him playing the cardboard piano.

kristin chenoweth (sally): the cutest, imp-iest thing. i thought she was great, and had amazing presence. you really thought she was a child in a grownups body. she has the best ringlets; they must take hours to set.

b.d. wong (linus): stunning. he's so funny, and does such a dignified yet silly linus. very philosophical, and has a deep personal relationship with the blanket.

roger bart (snoopy): amazing and adorable. he does not wear a dog costume (thankfully), but you never for a second think he's a person. he has these great dog mannerisms in the way he shakes his leg, howls, etc. his jazzed up suppertime rendition absolutely brought the house down, and his gorgeous singing voice didn't get shown off enough. also he's really handsome, imho.

finally... anthony rapp (charlie brown): i just sat there grinning from the second he appeared on stage. his hair is brushed down in this cute bowl kind of cut, and maybe it's a little darker? hard to tell with the lighting. my father insisted that he was wearing special makeup to make him look so pale. :-) he's just cute as a button up there, the essence of charlie brown with this impish, sheepish look on his face. i had the best time watching him, but it did make me a little sad. i kept expecting him to jump up on the dog house and pinch his nipples or something. he was the same old ant, though, flashing i love yous to josh at the curtain. sigh.

unfortunately, i didn't get to stick around afterwards, so i got no audience with the pale one. maybe in january in boston. doesn't matter though. this show is so much fun, i'd see it again either way. i totally recommend getting tickets if it's coming to your neighborhood!


Raquel's Review:

Well, this was definitely a weekend to remember. I had wanted to go and see Anthony, being as I had not gotten the honor with RENT and I knew he had a true and beautiful talent. So, before I knew it the day had arrived, the day I had built up so far in my mind. To my surprise, instead of falling short, it surpassed my expectations. The musical itself was fantastic, extremely cute and funny. The actors no longer were adults, but children, yet it seems the real meaning is in that itself. Happiness, pure happiness, is best identified as a child.

As for the cast:

Anthony Rapp: A Charlie Brown never to be forgotten, Anthony is sincere and genuine person. That is not always the easiest to put into words, but you can see it in his eyes. He is a truly wonderful and gentle person, but the greatest thing about it is you can tell this without even knowing him well. My heart went out to him as he expressed his loneliness in the show. A few times I had to remind myself it was only a show.

Roger Bart: Snoopy at his best! Roger has one of the most pure and brilliant singing voices I have ever heard, and he can still use it for comedy. All his numbers were show stoppers. Not only this, but he is a sweet, generous, and understanding man. I thank his greatly for him kindness to Kim and I, and taking the time to hang and talk with us.

Kristin Chenoweth: Another person with a beautiful voice, Kristin makes a very cute Sally. She doesn’t take herself seriously and she seems to truly enjoy her work. Kristin is obviously fun-loving and I think she likes to chat with fans. She is an extremely nice person, and is always bright and cheery. I would also like to thank her for the care she has shown.

B.D. Wong: The boy and his blanket -- B.D. makes a fantastic Linus. Just seeing with a blanket thrown over his head was too perfect. Actually, anything he did with his blanket was too perfect, making “My Blanket and Me” a performance to remember -- especially his final, and ever so adorable, “And me!” His smile can really brighten up a room. He seemed to also be very nice and I wish I would have gotten to talk to him longer.

Stanley Wayne Mathis: His Schroder was classic. Between screaming “I just can’t stand it!” and those looks he gave Lucy - Stanley made a great Beethoven lover. If there was anyone I made the worst impression on, though, it would have to be him. When I asked him to sign the holiday hits Charlie Brown CD I had gotten I said, “You can sign be Schroder, because...because.” - boy, don’t I have a way with words? All well, it was rather amusing.

Ilana Levine: You know, Ilana is a really cool name...Anyway... I never got to truly meet her, but, thanks to the help of Roger, I do have her autograph. Ilana was hysterical. She was definitely a super crab, but all in good fun. The only thing I didn’t like was the Aprils Fools joke she played on Charlie (the poor boy). Her whole Queendom scene was hilarious, along with the songs “Schroder," and “The Doctor is In.” I will most definitely have to try to meet her in NY.

All in all, I had an amazing weekend and it was sad to see it come to a close. I can tell you one thing, this cast hasn’t seen the last of me! :)


From Yahoo! News:


NEW YORK (AP) - Bless the little round-headed boy. He never gives up. Maybe that's why 30 years later, ``You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'' remains a modest but appealing show, a gentle paean to persistence guaranteed to cheer the hardest heart.

Not that ``Charlie Brown'' is exactly what it was in 1967 when the musical revue opened off-Broadway for a marathon four-year run. Director Michael Mayer has tinkered and tugged on the material and quickened the pace of this version now playing at Broadway's Ambassador Theater.

Mayer has also assembled a splendid cast, six performers who have a real talent for playing the characters created by Charles M. Schulz in his legendary comic strip ``Peanuts.''

Schulz's little crew, whether read in newspapers or watched on television specials, are old friends for a lot of us fans of the funnies. We are protective of them. Yet these actors satisfy our sense of the familiar while bringing something surprising to their interpretations. They can be childlike without being childish, not an easy task.

Consider the character of Sally Brown, Charlie's little sister, who was not in the original but has been added to this production. As played by the scene-stealing Kristin Chenoweth, she projects a fierce loony logic that children will understand and adults will wish they could emulate. Chenoweth, all blond curls and kewpie-doll voice, doesn't let a joke get past her.

Is there anyone who doesn't identify with Charlie Brown, bruised and battered by life and a bevy of highly critical friends? The lad retains our sympathy because he always tries to do the right thing. Anthony Rapp perfectly captures his wide-eyed earnestness that somehow survives his lack of confidence.

These are no self-esteem problems with Snoopy, a hedonistic hound whose main concerns seem to be eating and sleeping. Roger Bart delivers a sly, impish performance. Bart is a superb physical comedian as well, turning Snoopy into a more gleefully athletic canine than one remembers in the original.

Ilana Levine, as the professional termagant Lucy, does crabby to nerve-shattering perfection. B.D. Wong's Linus, Lucy's blanket-dependent brother, is cheerfully professorial, eager to overexplain everything.

Stanley Wayne Mathis's ingratiating smile may be at odds with the sobriety of the piano-playing Schroeder, but he cuts loose in one of the more sparkling new songs, ``Beethoven Day,'' a hymn to his favorite composer.

``Charlie Brown'' is a form of entertainment Broadway hasn't seen much of in recent years - a revue. It used to be a staple in less-demanding days before the advent of television. If one sketch wasn't terrific, another would come along in a few minutes.

Such is the case here, although author Clark Gesner, who wrote the sketches, music and lyrics, has a pretty high batting average. And some of them - the book report on Peter Rabbit and Snoopy's hymn to ``Suppertime,'' for example - remain fresh and funny no matter now many times you hear them.

Mayer and set designer David Gallo have framed the show in a proscenium of yellowed newspapers. The bold bright colors of the set, large cutouts of simple objects such as a tree, a dog house or a bench, give the feeling of a comic strip come to life.

That's another reason why this show has been so successful over the past three decades. ``You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'' has remained remarkably faithful to its original, often inspired source.


Chris's review:

Ok...So I was kinda skeptical at first. I mean a BROADWAY MUSICAL about Charlie Brown? Well, I was pleasantly surprised. The show was great. Soo funny. If you go be prepared to laugh alot. The cast is incredibly talented including the people of the roles of Snoopy and Linus! The songs while not so memmorible convey the laughter and happiness. HAPPINESS IS YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN

---Anthony Rapp IS Charlie Brown I've never had the chance to see him as Mark Cohen but I finally realize his brillant acting and singing skills!

So go and see it if you have time - but not because Anthony Rapp is in it, or some person who knows Jonathan Larson is, but because it is what a GOOD musical comedy should be.

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